Goosnargh Gin - the spirit of Bowland

PUBLISHED: 08:49 10 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:57 10 December 2018

Each label is hand signed by the distillers

Each label is hand signed by the distillers

not Archant

If you think all gin tastes the same, you need to try the latest spirit coming from Lancashire

Rachel and Rich built up a large collection of gin before deciding to make their ownRachel and Rich built up a large collection of gin before deciding to make their own

It’s a fair bet that invitations to spend time at the home of Rachel and Rich Trenchard are seldom rejected. It’s not just that they live in a beautifully restored 18th century house on the edge of Beacon Fell or because they are charming hosts (although we’re sure they are).

Part of the reason for their popularity has got something to do with the fact they adore gin – so much so that they have started distilling their own and they like guests to try out their latest flavour combinations.

Have a GG&T – it’s a neat fit as it is called Goosnargh Gin – has become a catchphrase around the Trenchard household and it’s catching on. Once tasted, people usually come back for more.

Rich, a journalist with his own communications business, and Rachel, who runs two nursery schools in the Chorley area with her sister-in-law, left their home of 13 years in Wheelton for the more rural setting of Whitechapel by the Forest of Bowland.

Beatrice is the main still used by Richard and RachelBeatrice is the main still used by Richard and Rachel

The country life suited them and their two teenage children but the 42-year-old couple never lost their passion for gin. Over a decade, they built up a large collection of bottles from people making small batch, hand-crafted spirits using traditional methods.

After much discussion they decided to take the leap from drinking gin to making it. Rachel spent time with the experts ensuring everything they knew about the process was correct and they scrapped plans to convert a charming outbuilding into a guest room.

Instead, it became their distillery and pride of place goes to a beautifully elegant copper still made in Portugal and capable of producing just 60 bottles at a time. A much smaller still is used for research.

Conscious of their surroundings and obviously keen on word games, they named the big still Beatrice (Bea) and the smaller test still Constance (Con). There are plans to get a third, Felicity (Fel), to make Beacon Fell.

Rachel with the cabinet of organic botanicalsRachel with the cabinet of organic botanicals

After much experimentation, the first gin was ready. The Goosnargh Gin batches come in chapters and Chapter One is their Signature Gin, a delicate mix of botanicals from plants you’d find in the Bowland area – organic meadowsweet, yarrow and elderflower as well as traditional juniper. Served with ice, quality tonic and a sprig of thyme, this makes an outstanding drink with a memorably subtle fragrance.

Chapter Two will be Dark Skies, a nod to Bowland’s newly granted status for star-gazers. It will be spicier with ginger and cardamom notes.

‘We don’t want to become huge, we want to be able to interact with the people who buy it,’ said Rachel. ‘We know gin has become extremely popular but new makers are always welcomed. There is a real excitement in the community when a new gin appears.’

Goosnargh Gin comes in a distinctive bottle with artistic labels showing a roe deer in a Bowland setting embellished with a gold tinted print and the letters GG&T on the stopper. Each bottle is 45 per cent proof and retails at £38 for a 700mls.

The gin is sold to individuals via their website as they have no intention of selling it from their home. The plan is to eventually sell it to pubs, restaurants and the hospitality industry but they are awaiting confirmation that they comply with HMRC regulations before they can sell business-to-business. In the meantime, you’ll also spot them at farmers’ markets and Christmas fairs.

Despite being surrounded by gin, and unlike some chocolate makers, this enthusiastic couple never seem to tire of the spirit. ‘One thing has changed though.’ said Rich. ‘Although we have more than 50 different gins from all over the world, we only ever seem to drink our own these days.’ u

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